NYC TO SUBPOENA AD AGENCY EXECS IN DIVERSITY PROBE
Industry’s Minority-Hiring Practices Called a City ‘Embarrassment’
By Lisa Sanders, Ad Age
Madison Avenue’s white management ranks are about to be exposed in public hearings on ad agencies’ minority-hiring practices that could drag industry stars such as Andrew Robertson, Kevin Roberts and Shelly Lazarus — and their clients — into an unflattering spotlight.
Blasting the New York industry’s hiring practices as “an embarrassment for a diverse city,” City Councilman Larry Seabrook said he will call hearings within the next three months and likely subpoena industry executives for a grilling on the subject.
Agencies won’t be the only ones called to testify. “We can ask [clients] for their positions on diversity and how they feel about working with agencies that aren’t diverse,” added Mr. Seabrook.
Shockingly little change
The last investigation of advertising’s minority-hiring practices was undertaken in the early 1970s, when three agencies agreed to implement approved procedures in hiring. But shockingly little has changed since those days, when Gerald Ford was in office and the Watergate perpetrators were being sentenced, according to Mr. Seabrook. In fact, “conditions within the industry have gotten worse,” he said.
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